A unique and hugely rewarding experience is what the organisers of Oak Leaf Cycle Slam 2012 are promising as they launch the now annual fundraising event in aid of the Derry GAA Schools coaching programme.
Cycle fans from across Derry City and the county are gathering together for a three day tour this summer where it is hoped that over one hundred people will cycle in unison along a route taking in 12 counties including Donegal, Leitrim, Westmeath and Monaghan. Event organiser and Derry Games Development Manager Chris Collins explained how the event has evolved:
‘In previous years we’ve had an overwhelming response from people. As a core group of cyclists we’ve been on a 10-day tour of Ireland and last year an international trek as we made our way to Paris. Those were unforgettable experiences for those of us who were involved,” he explained.
This year’s event opens the net to all interested cyclists as the Cycle Slam shifts gear to include up to 100 people in what will be a significant logistical challenge in its own right. Collins is keen to emphasis the change of direction.
‘Basically we want more people to take part this year. There’s a massive feel good factor involved and that’s something we want to share. We’re asking each participant to raise £350. For that they also get hotel accommodation with all meals provided as well as logistics support.
“We’re staying at the Abbey Hotel in Donegal where the legendary Brian McEniff is proprietor, so the craic should be good there. From there we make our way to Mullingar staying overnight at Bloomfield house before heading north on the last leg.’
A dedicated website will be launched to support the event. The site will host route details, detailed training schedules designed by Anthony Begley, tips and advice for cyclists. Cyclists will be able to set up their own dedicated fundraising page to share with friends and family.
‘It’s an ambitious plan but judging by initial reaction, we believe this will be a truly spectacular event. We urge all with an interest in cycling to take part in what will be a spectacular and memorable event.’
The event takes place from 13th-15th of July. Further details can be found at www.derrygaa.ie/cycleslam.